BMWU, Commissioner strike unionisation compromise

BMWU Members
BMWU Members

FRANCISTOWN: There seems to be light at the end of the tunnel between Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) and the Commissioner of Labour over the unionisation of Makoro Brick employees.

BMWU and Makoro Brick have been embroiled in a protracted battle since 2001 over the unionisation of the latter’s employees as per their right to form a union if they meet the 33% threshold of unionising.

The labour battle between BMWU and Makoro ended up entangling two Palapye labour office employees, Luzibo Mgadla and Gilbert Roberts, who were ordered to appear before the Francistown Industrial Court Judge Christian Diwanga for failing to comply with a court order that Diwanga previously issued.

The August 18, 2021 order which was issued by Diwanga directed Mgadla and Roberts to comply with the order of June 14, 2021 which amongst other things ordered for a ballot in terms of Section 35(7) of the Trade Disputes Act to allow Makoro Brick employees to unionise if they met the recognition threshold of 33%.

“The labour officials shall appear before court on the said date (November 26, 2021) to show cause why they should not be held liable in contempt of the orders issued by this court on the 14th of June and 18th of August, 2021,” said Diwanga in his previous order.

BMWU had previously said it approached court because there seems to be no commitment from labour officials and Makoro Brick management to comply with the order-a stance BMWU reiterated Thursday through its National Organising Coordinator, Abel Buka.

Buka however added that BMWU recently met with the deputies of the Commissioner of Labour, Goitseone Kokorwe, to resolve the issue of unionisation of Makoro Brick workers.

Buka said after the meeting with officials of the commissioner, a promise was made to the effect that the commissioner will send a team of officers to facilitate the process of the unionisation of Makoro Brick employees as per Diwanga’s court order.

In the past, BMWU had also accused the labour employees of seemingly supporting the ‘flagrant non-compliance’ with court orders by Makoro officials.

BMWU through its general secretary Maenge Maenge said: “The lacklustre attitude displayed by these labour officers has led the union to believe that the entire regional department of labour is captured. Palapye labour officers are no longer impartial but are serving the interests of Makoro Brick.”

Maenge also stated that the union has complied with the Court order by submitting to Makoro Brick and Palapye Labour Office all the supporting documents necessary for the proper execution of the court order.

He said that Makoro Brick and labour officials have been sending BMWU officials from pillar to post, giving reasons which are illogical, unreasonable, and outright absurd with reference to complying with the order.

“Several attempts were made by the union to escalate the matter to the regional office and the union was met with the same outcome. The union is determined to fight tooth and nail for its recognition at Makoro Brick and for its members’ right to workplace representation. The union will not rest until this matter is resolved and its members' right to freedom of association is realised,” Maenge said.

Maenge pleaded with Kokorwe and the Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, Mpho Balopi, to ‘swiftly’ attend to the ‘rot’ at the labour department in Palapye. He reiterated that employees at the department are not keen on impartially serving the interest of their key stakeholders.

“We call for the restructuring of the Palapye labour department, either through transfers or relieve from duty,” Maenge said.

Editor's Comment
Hooliganism Uncool!

It was not only hazardous to others but also embarrassing and shocking. The outbreak of COVID-19 forced governments to impose restrictions to curb the spread of the potentially fatal virus, and one of them was a temporary ban on festivals and music shows. While necessary, these decisions affected the incomes of music promoters, musicians, different companies, which deal with sound equipment amongst others. Now that most of the restrictions have...

Have a Story? Send Us a tip
arrow up